Good day folks.
I have seen a few online petitions going around lately and one has caught my attention. The petition requesting the National Assembly (NASS) to open its book regarding the perennial N150 Billion (Approx. $600 Million) budget is a feel good one, but really doesn’t open up the matter. It’s okay to sign the petition, but more informative to understand the issues.
Let’s remember that the cold war between the Presidency and the NASS started in 2011, when President Jonathan refused to approve the NASS budget that was increased from N112.24 billion to N232.74 Billion (over 100% increase). The President had proposed N120 Billion, but eventually both parties agreed to settled for N150 Billion, which has remained the yearly budget till 2014 (Their budget was slashed in 2015 to N115 Billion). From that point on, the NASS practically stood in the way of the Executive over several issues, for which Nigerians paid the ultimate price. Can you imagine that if left unchecked, the NASS would have been blowing over N200 Billion on themselves????
Prior to 2011, there was some level of budget breakdown for the monies allocated to the NASS. We could tell what went to the Senate, House of Representatives, NASS Service Commission, etc. For the past 4 years however, no one has been able to breakdown this budget of N150 Billion despite the various demands by pressmen relying on the Freedom of Information Act.
For the patient minded, read on.
One of the most frustrating things that we often have to deal with in our lives is the question of the existence of God. If you are human, you probably would have pondered on the issue and wondered if at the end this was all a big lie. Often times, you rebuke the thought and “keep the faith” because you have been taught to believe the consequences of streaming along that thought is quite dire, and damnation awaits the one who finalises that position. For those who have pushed that envelop further, it can take a course requiring some empirical evidence, such as saying “if you are God, can you…”, or “if you really exist, blow some cool air on my face”.
Even for those who tend to take their faith in God seriously, there are moments when they arrive at a seeming inaneness of it all, staying spiritually aloof for a time and floating in the nothingness of conviction. It can be quite painful and grievous for some. Most will deflect the matter from causing pain and pray out something like this: “I wish You would speak to me and let me hear you beyond any reasonable doubt”. Oh! The number of times I have wallowed in those moments, even after extended periods of deeply fulfilling spiritual renewals.
We are often challenged with the concern of building our faith on what we have heard and received from others, or sources other than the self. We hear others speak glowingly of encounters with God and we rejoice momentarily, sometimes shiver from an attack of goosebumps, and join a collective frenzied expression of exuberant praise. However, we soon settle back to human nature and realise how dominant our emotions have played a huge part of what we profess. While this isn’t necessarily demeaning, it leaves much to be desired; for we are yet to touch something more tangible to our inner person, and we know it.
I woke up on the morning of Easter Monday, floating back to earthly life from deep thoughts on unspoken matters. I had just been re-energised by simple meditations on beautiful and uncomplicated things, inspiring my heart with a positive outlook to life. My mind was on fire with all the songs I had just finished singing from the previous nights’ concert, and I still could literally feel the bellows of the Church organ resonating in my bowels. Still longing for my bed, I had to wake early to go see my sister, whose birthday it was. I didn’t mind. My legs were tired, but my mind was alive.
I’m usually alert to spoilers, but not on this morning. I was revelling in unguarded pleasantness, until I scanned through my Twitter feed. Usually, I search specifically for informative content, particularly from individuals who have a history of tweeting articles and following it up with a great conversation. Sadly, my feed was plastered with commentaries on a recent statement made by a traditional ruler, which set Nigeria’s Tweetosphere ablaze. So many tweets were flying around the subject matter that I had to carefully trace what exactly prompted all the vitriol. Unfortunately I followed the Rabbit trail (all in a few minutes of siting in the car waiting for my sister) and realised later that I had squeezed out almost every ounce of joy in my heart.
How did that happen? While I sat there amazed at how people turned on each other over someone else’ comment, I was ignorant of how the bile had seeped into my mind and cast a dark showdown over my thoughts. I was now thinking on how this might spark electoral violence, ethnic rivalry, and a series of unfortunate events in Lagos. By the time I arrived at the local Catholic church with my sister for the Mass, I was a different man. I had lost the sense of the beautiful I woke up with. I sat in church contemplating Nigeria’s troubles, rather than enjoy the strange art of worship I wasn’t used to. I had just swallowed the bitter pill that online social media serves us daily.